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Week 2 - Monday - Summer Tea

Tofu with Grilled Asparagus and RiceAll at once it has become hot. You may have heard that San Francisco is foggy all summer long, and most of it is. But here on the hill it gets hot; today it is 89.

I spend the day writing, working on this website, and trying to keep the apartment cool. We have East and West facing windows, and the apartment is laid out so that there is no way to create a cross-breeze from one end to the other. My technique for keeping us cool is a combination of blocking sun and moving whatever cool air exists into and around the house. It's a delicate thing, standing in front of a window trying to decide if the air is still cool enough to risk letting the sun shine in. And it takes constant attention. Is the air on this side of the house warm yet? What about now? What about now? And this side. Still hot?

One of my favorite summer rituals is Summer Tea. I'm still working out the exact proportions, but it's delicious even in this imperfect state: Mix together about 1/4 cup of green tea (shakes fist at sky), about 2 TB of lemongrass, and about 2 TB of dried mint. Fill a tea ball about halfway with this mixture, and put the rest in the cupboard. Then fill a 1/2 gallon mason jar with water, and let it sit in the sun for a few hours, and voila. I do this on the first really hot day of the year, and keep one filled in the refrigerator all summer long.

Setting up this website, editing entries, checking figures.... It's dinnertime before I know it, and I haven't even started preparing dinner. Tired, I look at Jesse and ask him,"Do you know what I'd like to do tonight more than anything? Eat out." He grins.

The hearty soup I had planned for the evening has been cancelled due to hot weather, but fortunately I have a simple alternative. I make some rice and carmelize some tofu while Jesse grills the rest of the asparagus on the deck. I halve cherries and add them to the last of the salad mix, and dress the salad with my Raspberry Vinaigrette. I don't bother to open a bottle of wine, electing to pour myself a nice, cold glass of Summer Tea instead.

I used tofu from the freezer and herbs from the cupboard; daily total to be posted tomorrow, but estimated at $5 or less.

Incomplete Monday total: $2.91. Remaining weekly allowance: $58.59.

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What a fun experiment! I don't do the bulk of the grocery shopping in our family so I am not as plugged in to what you are writing about but I am fascinated. I do know that our monthly food bill is astronomical. We try to eat local and organic. We shop at New Season's and they have a cool system for letting people know which products are local - yellow shelf tags. When you are shopping you can easily tell the local food (within 100 or 150 miles?) by the yellow shelf tag. Non-local food has a white tag. It is a very clever, non-invasive system that allows you to easily make local food replacements.

A local (to me) blogger was talking about the local food dilemma that I found interesting. You can read about her journey here. She also references the 100-mile diet which also looks cool.

I know that these references are only tangentially related to what you are doing but I thought you might find them interesting. I think what you are doing is extremely cool and I look forward to your progress. Good luck!

Since I buy most of my produce in season and because my CSA is only 70 miles away, I believe we eat pretty locally. Of course, the Bay Area is one of the easiest places in the world to do that, so I don't consider that to be a particular accomplishment.

That applies only to produce, though. I'm sure my flour and of course spices come from much further away.

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» How did it begin?
» Week 1: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Photos | Summary: Under budget - $3.20
» Week 2: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Photos | Summary: Under budget - $13.34
» Week 3: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Photos | Summary: Under budget - $7.15
» Week 4: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Photos | Summary: Under budget - $6.41
» Week 5: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Photos

other food challenges

» Above Average Jane
» The Eat Local Challenge
» The April 2007 Penny-Wise Eat Local Challenge
» Half-Changed World
» Slow Food for Low and Moderate Income People
» Tinotopia's Food Stamp Diet

other food projects

Food is a Munition of War: living for one month on UK WWII rations

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